rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
  1. My and Tony's 7th wedding anniversary.
  2. The first day of Tony's paternity leave, followed by 2 weeks of "ordinary" annual leave.  So nice to be at home together.
  3. My last chance to go into labour before tomorrow's elective c-section.  I went for a long walk yesterday evening, in hopes of encouraging things along.  Basically, if I'm upright and moving around, my body is Braxton-Hicks-ing enthusiastically but without any rhythm emerging, and when I rest, it stops (unless I'm on the gym ball, but that's not the most restful seat).
  4. Release day for the ebook of The Apocalypse Codex, the latest Charles Stross book in the Laundry series.  I had pre-ordered, so it quietly appeared on my Kindle and phone this morning.  I am saving it for tomorrow to while away waiting in hospital.
We are going to the cinema to see the new Spiderman film while Charles is at school and we don't have a baby to look after.  And of course we're walking there, because I haven't quite given up hope yet ...
rmc28: (mybaby 20wks)
I met the obstetrician and we discussed induction versus elective c-section and my concerns that VBAC success rates fall with induction and also fall after 41 weeks, and my last baby was big, and this one is probably big, and my mother's babies were all big.  So we decided induction was not sensible and she went off to try to book me a c-section "at the end of next week".

Only it turns out that the hospital has lots of sections already booked for next week, and the next available was 17th July, which would be 42+1, and outside both of our comfort zones.  So she went off and wrangled the system a bit more and I am now booked in for 10th July (next Tuesday).  If I understood correctly, on a list which is basically "do these when you can fit them in between the appointments and the unplanned c-sections".  But, if one of the mothers scheduled for Wednesday delivers early, I may get bumped to the timeslot they free up.  In any case, I have a pre-op checkup on Friday.

I do not envy the person who has to try to manage the c-section schedule.

The result is we will have a baby no later than Wednesday evening and probably by Tuesday evening.   Unless I can deliver first.   I shall be stepping up (ho ho) my walking/stair-climbing campaigns.  In the meantime, I've suggested that Tony plans to start paternity leave on Monday at the latest, and that my mother plans to travel down to us on Monday at the latest.

After all that scheduling, we discussed the stretch and sweep and the obstetrician said it was completely optional and was probably not worth doing if it would make me stressed about the pain.  She was happy to do one if I wanted, but if I didn't want, no problem.  So I said no.

And then, because the actual booking of an elective c-section after all the effort to prepare for VBAC was making me a bit weepy, I walked up Hills Road to work off the weepiness/encourage contractions.  I got as far as the bus stop just after Station Road before tiredness won out, and bussed the rest of the way.  It would have been quicker and better to cycle both ways, and maybe I'll do that on Friday.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Still no baby. The Braxton-Hicks contractions I've been having (for over 2 months now!) are getting stronger and harder to keep walking through but still not regular and still don't feel productive. I have started getting a bit desperate and doing things like climbing up and down the stairs sideways whenever I remember.

This afternoon I get to talk to an obstetrician about "delivery options" i.e. what we will do if I continue not to go into labour spontaneously, and by when. cut for medical detail )

I also have to decide very soon how to travel: bike remains the quickest and most reliable transport method over that distance, but if I accept the sweep I might not be up to cycling back afterwards. Bus will definitely get me both ways, but be slower and more annoying.  I could combine part-walk, part-bus for the exercise benefits, but that will take even longer.
rmc28: (mybaby 20wks)
Still not king given birth.  I am just a touch obsessed with this now.

Tomorrow will be 39 weeks.   At 40+2 I have an appointment at the hospital with a doctor where I expect we will schedule an elective c-section for shortly after 41 weeks (my least-bad option based on my understanding of the RCOG guidelines).  So, one way or another, I only have another 16 days or so of pregnancy left.  I would very much like to avoid the c-section; also the earlier and therefore smaller the baby, the greater chance of successful VBAC.  So I am oversensitive to people saying "ooh, how long have you got?"  Because Now Is Good.

In the last week there seems to have been some kind of growth spurt - the bump is bigger and more awkward, loads more new stretch marks, and my weight has jumped another kilo.  The Braxton-Hicks contractions continue to appear whenever I stand or walk around, and are getting stronger and more uncomfortable but nowhere near productive labour yet, as well as petering out whenever I get hopeful.  Other unpleasant symptoms include my ankles finally swelling up, and noticeably less energy / stamina in everyday life.   Poor [livejournal.com profile] fanf is having to do more and more of the housework.

Based on the theory that babies are always born at the least convenient time, I'm trying to set up things to do which will be inconvenienced by labour starting.  There was a golden opportunity last night, when we had houseguests staying over after a lovely wedding; I was thinking 4am would be maximally disruptive and there was a certain sense of disappointment when I woke briefly at 5am to a complete lack of contractions.

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I've now been on maternity leave for four weeks.  The school runs give my day some structure, but I have to admit I mostly sit and rest rather than do much with the time in between, despite my best intentions.  I have managed to sort and declutter the remaining heaps of outgrown children's clothes so we now have neatly-packed boxes of clothes sorted by age group from newborn to five and a couple of boxes of baby toys ready.  

[livejournal.com profile] j4 & [livejournal.com profile] addedentry very kindly gave us a moses basket and a baby play mat when I visited them at the end of May.  I have picked out a buggy and a nappy change table to buy just as soon as I clear the space for them to go into (this is supposed to be an incentive for me to finish the necessary decluttering next week ...).  I have filled in my "VBAC pathway" with my midwife - essentially a structured birth plan on an A4 form - and written out a checklist of actions/decision points for when I go into labour.  Tomorrow I reach 37 weeks and can go into labour without it being labelled as premature.  I expect it will be at least a week or two more though.

The last week has been half-term for Charles (and I think pretty much all schoolchildren in the UK).  We had a lovely long weekend featuring parties on Friday night, Saturday, and Monday night, plus a Big Lunch organised by the local Residents Association on Sunday.  Tuesday was rather quiet as a result, and on Wednesday morning Charles & I headed off by train to stay with my mum and stepdad in Todmorden for a few days.  It was very rainy throughout the visit and we mostly stayed indoors .  Charles seemed to appreciate having lots of one-to-one time with me, and time with his granny.  He also spent a lot of time watching Mick lay flooring in the attic.  I got to have a fair bit of time talking to my mum about everything and nothing.   Overall it was a very restful and pleasant little holiday, even if both Charles and I missed Tony a lot (video calls at bedtime helped).

While I was in Todmorden, I finally got around to reading a couple of books bought several months ago, on the grounds they would rapidly become irrelevant if I didn't: Pregnancy & Birth Handbook, by Dr Miriam Stoppard and Your Best Birth, by Ricki Lake & Abby Epstein.  The former felt very much like a revision session and I basically skim-read it.  The latter is very US-centric and puts my irritation with certain patronising obstetricians at the Rosie into perspective - I am left profoundly grateful that I'm giving birth here rather than there. The book has a good chapter on VBAC and again I felt as though I had usefully revised everything I needed to know rather than learning new stuff.  There was some other good stuff  about birth companions and having reasonable expectations of one's partner under stress, and talking about worries together in advance. 

I was amused by the little section in Your Best Birth on using art and creative writing to bring out and address one's fears of labour and birth.  I summarised research and wrote checklists to do that.  Checklists are sort-of creative, right?

rmc28: (uterus)
I have done lots of reading about VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section) and ERCS (elective repeat c-section). It might have made a more productive meeting with the obstetrician on Monday if I'd done it first. I've primarily used the following resources:

Home Birth Reference Site (HBRS)
Guidelines from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynacologists on Birth After Previous Caesarean Birth (Green-top 45) (PDF downloadable from that link). (RCOG)

I very much like this sentence from the RCOG guidelines:

There are no randomised controlled trials comparing planned VBAC with planned ERCS and this may be an unrealistic aspiration.

Onward to the vast screed of research )

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rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Rachel Coleman

September 2017

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